What does a Realtor do? These professionals are members of the National Association of Realtors, and they can help you buy or sell a home.
For most Americans, a home is the most expensive purchase they'll make in their lifetime. It's a serious transaction with significant financial and emotional ramifications for the parties involved, and having proper representation is critical. So, what's a Realtor going to do for you ... and is it really necessary to hire one?
What does a Realtor do?
In 2012, a full 89 percent of buyers used a real estate agent, and so did 88 percent of sellers. Realtor® representation during a real estate transaction is important for both buyers and sellers. Here are six of the chief reasons:
They take on fiduciary responsibility
When you work with a Realtor, their fiduciary responsibility is to you. That means you have an expert who is looking out for your best financial interests, an expert who's contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you. That's big—the value of that commitment cannot be overstated. "For more than 100 years, Realtors have subscribed to the NAR's strict Code of Ethics as a condition of membership," says National Association of Realtors President Gary Thomas. "Realtors have the expertise and experience to help sellers protect their investment and help buyers build theirs."
They keep up with changing real estate regulations.
Buying or selling a home is not like purchasing a plane ticket. Every home is different, and laws change every year and vary from state to state. Generally speaking, people purchase a new home every 7-10 years, and a lot can—and usually does—change between transactions. Realtors are immersed in real estate, and they must stay current with all the updates in regulations, laws, contracts and practices. Once you retain your Realtor, they put that knowledge to work for you.
A Realtor helps you find the right home, beyond square footage and baths.
Browsing online is a terrific way to start a home search—in fact, almost 90 percent of people start their home search online. But when it's time to buy, knowing all the pros and cons of a property can help you make the right decision. Realtors live and breathe real estate, and they can share information about a home that you wouldn't otherwise know. For example, they can tell you about the perils of polybutylene piping (a plumbing material that's prone to bursting), or the concerns with FRT plywood (a roofing material that can spontaneously combust in higher temperatures, like those in attics). Your Realtor® can go beyond the aesthetics and tell you important details about homes you're considering.
Contracts and negotiations
Finding the right home is the fun part. Then the real work begins. Today's contracts can be 50 pages long, not counting addendums and riders. Realtors® can help you navigate these complex documents and craft an attractive offer that makes sense for you. Plus, when it comes to negotiation, your Realtor is your advocate and can bring an objective voice to a very subjective situation.
Realtors follow a code of ethics
When you work with a Realtor, you're partnering with a professional who operates according to a strict code of ethics. In place for over 100 years, the Realtor Code of Ethics ensures that consumers who work with a Realtor are treated professionally and ethically in all transaction-related matters.